Robert Doisneau; a glance back in time

Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall) 1950

Robert Doisneau (1912 – 1994) was a French photographer. In the 1930s he used a Leica camera on the streets of Paris. He and Henri Cartier-Bresson were pioneers of photojournalism.He is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Robert Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour in 1984.

Doisneau was known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes. Influenced by the work of André Kertész, Eugène Atget, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, in more than twenty books he presented a charming vision of human frailty and life as a series of quiet, incongruous moments.

He is renowned for his 1950 image, a photograph of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour in 1984.

Doisneau: “The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

The tug of the Champs de Mars, Paris. 1943

La dactylo du Vert Galant. Paris, 1947

Le plongeur du Pont d’Iena, Paris, 1945

Throwing leaflets rue Henri Monnier. 1944

Manifestation, 1958

Chez Arturo Lopez, Neuilly. 20 juin 1952

Les tabliers de la rue de Rivoli, Paris, 1978

N98 near Sainte-Maxime, 1959

L’aéroplane de Papa, 1934

Les enfants de la place Hébert, Paris, 1957

Finally, the looks of both of the women are scathing. Both look angry for having their picture taken. The older woman appears protective over the younger woman; her body language is closed off, defensive. The instrument, an accordion, is held defensively as if armor against the photographer.

“On a peaceful Sunday morning there appeared two women and an accordion. From rue Mouffetard to rue de Flandre, from the wholesale butchers at la Villette to the lads on rue de Lyon, with zigzags along canal Saint-Martin via the cheap eateries on rue Tiquetonne, I couldn’t say how many days the aimless stroll lasted, nor in how many bistros we drank.

Me and my buddy Giraud both fell under the accordion’s spell. That really can happen sometimes. How else can you explain the patience of all those customers, for people normally hate to have their picture taken when they’re eating (unlike drinkers, who pose willingly, often with a touch of bravado). It was the melody that supplied the anesthesia that made the photographer bearable.” – from the notebook of Robert Doisneau

Advertisements

One thought on “Robert Doisneau; a glance back in time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s